[dropcap]E[/dropcap]ach year, my school doled out virtue awards. It was a big slaphappy ceremony, the whole school got together for it, and everyone wore their Sunday best.
Michael got the award for cheerfulness. Ridiculous. Of course he was cheerful, his family was richer than Instagram. Lynn got the award for impartiality. A befitting award for her, she always was a little tattle-butt. And there was me. I received an award for patience.
Backstage, before the ceremony, there were gratuitous snacks and a cooler stocked full of Coca-Cola. As a healthy eleven-year-old, I did not intend to let such pleasantries go to waste. After all, this is America. I sucked down more Coke than a cast member of Saturday Night Live, and It wasn’t long before I was jogging in place with a full bladder.
“Class,” Miss Williams announced. “Form a single file line, it’s time to go on stage.”
“Excuse me, Miss Williams, I need to use the restroom.”
“It’ll have to wait.”
“But, it’s urgent ma’am.”
“I’m sorry, there’s no time.”
The class paraded onto the stage, and everyone genially accepted their awards while Miss Kathy played Pomp and Circumstance on the piano. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many cheesy smiles in one room. When Miss Williams called my name, I walked stiff-legged to the front of the stage before two hundred parents.
And peed my pants for them.